If Rick Renteria were to pass you on the streets of Chicago, chances are you would have not realized that you just passed by the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
But Cubs fans need to hope that Renteria made a favorable impression on Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the pitcher met with the Cubs management last week. On Thursday, Renteria spoke about the pitch that the Cubs made to Tanaka.
“[Our pitch] to him is that we’re a club on the [upswing],” Renteria said. “We’re a club that has a lot of talent [in the minor leagues] besides the guys that we have here [at the major league level]. The organization has quality players coming up that’s going to significantly impact the organization.”-Rick Renteria, ESPN Chicago
Not only would Tanaka be a significant impact to the Cubs organization, the Japanese starting pitcher would be an impact player for the Cubs at the Major League level. That is one of the reasons why the Cubs are offering nine figures in an attempt to court the 25-year old Japanese ace.
Tanaka went 24-0 with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan last season while posting an ERA of 1.27. The Eagles are set to receive $20 million from the team that Signs Tanaka as a posting fee.
If Tanaka were to sign with the Cubs, the pitcher likely would start the season as the team’s No. 2 starting pitcher behind Jeff Samardzija.
Reports on Thursday seemed to propel the Cubs back into the Tanaka sweepstakes as they indicated that the Cubs were “all in” and “pushing hard” to sign the Japanese starting pitcher.
Renteria wasn’t able to say where the Cubs stand in the overall courtship of Tanaka but expressed confidence in being able to manage the Japanese pitcher.
“Obviously we’ve had conversations with Tanaka,” Renteria said. “I’m not sure exactly where we are in that process. We were there, we had conversations, very good conversations, obviously through translators.
“I actually ordered Rosetta Stone [a computer-assisted language learning program], the Japanese version. I’m going to be prepared [if Tanaka does come here]. I’m going to try to learn a little Japanese, and if [he signs], good for us.”-Renteria, ESPN Chicago
Tanaka has until January 24 to sign with a Major League Baseball team.